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Larry Goldings: Quartet

The musical concerns of Larry Goldings are eclectic. The program here includes pieces from Bjork and Monk and French songmaster Gabriel Faure and Brazilian singer Chico Buarque and Abdullah Ibrahim, and also in-studio group improvisations. Goldings, best known as an organist, adds more variety of color and detail by utilizing an array of keyboard instruments–primarily acoustic piano but also Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond B3, accordion, harmonium and even glockenspiel.

But Goldings’ band (John Sneider on trumpet, Ben Allison on bass, Matt Wilson on drums) possesses such a distinct sonic identity that Quartet never feels like a miscellany. It is a single fabric of tone and sensibility. The voice most responsible for that unity is Sneider’s. He reveals the spiritual affinities between music like Bjork’s “Cocoon,” from Iceland, and Ibrahim’s “The Wedding,” from South Africa. His plangent trumpet sound integrates 12 dissimilar songs within its glow and quiets and rounds everything into poignance, even the hard corners of Monk’s “Jackie-ing.”

The most seductive performance in this consistently seductive album is “Cocoon.” No Bjork melody has ever received a more poetic portrayal. Quartet is Larry Goldings’ strongest recording to date, and John Sneider may be the best unknown trumpet player in jazz.

Originally Published